Engineering Courses for Physics Major

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  • Thread starter doublemint
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  • #1
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Hello,
What are some recommended engineering courses I should take to diversify my physics degree?

Thanks!
DoubleMint
 

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  • #3
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What exactly are you looking for? Long story short would be none unless you truly have an interest in certain aspects of engineering. Which in that case you'd want to consider taking engineering physics as a degree or just check out the engineering electives at your uni that interest you.
 
  • #4
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Unfortunately we do not have an engineering physics degree at my university and most engineering courses are restricted to eng students unless I fill out some forms and such. I am looking for courses such as circuits(?) so that when i go out into the real world it maybe useful and competitive when applying for jobs. Also, I may want to go for a masters in some sort of engineering so by taking some eng courses, I can get a leg up if I ever have to take additional courses to complete the masters.
 
  • #5
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The thing physics majors lack compared to their engineering cousins is training in system design along with some computation, prob./stats, and sometimes engineers are taught courses in applied physics traditional physics majors lack such as fluid mechanics and heat transfer as taught by me departments.

So, if you're interested perhaps in experimental physics or EE then try courses in circuits, analog/digital electronics, maybe control systems. ME maybe try material science/mechanics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, engineering style thermo, things like that. A physics professor of mine says many physics grad students enter their programs without even knowing what a histogram is so courses in engineering style probability and statistics might be useful too.
 
  • #6
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I think it's a great disservice not to include fluid mechanics in a physics degree.
 
  • #7
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Great! That is the kind of advice I really need! Thanks a bunch!
 
  • #8
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I think it's a great disservice not to include fluid mechanics in a physics degree.
I thought so too (disservice is a bit strong though). When I talked to various physics professors, they made it seem like fluid mechanics was fairly easy to pick up and was really just "applied mechanics". I know they have to use some fluid mechanics (in plasmas for example), so I figure they semi-know what they're talking about.

@OP: you might want to narrow your choice of engr fields down a bit. EE classes on semiconductors/electronics would be useful if you go that route, but if you go want to do aerospace design, those classes may not be as useful...
you might do better finding out what interests you as oppose to what the world wants. there are plenty of jobs involving electronics/circuits, but you may find you can't stand that stuff (I know I can't).
 
  • #9
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I thought so too (disservice is a bit strong though). When I talked to various physics professors, they made it seem like fluid mechanics was fairly easy to pick up and was really just "applied mechanics". I know they have to use some fluid mechanics (in plasmas for example), so I figure they semi-know what they're talking about.

@OP: you might want to narrow your choice of engr fields down a bit. EE classes on semiconductors/electronics would be useful if you go that route, but if you go want to do aerospace design, those classes may not be as useful...
you might do better finding out what interests you as oppose to what the world wants. there are plenty of jobs involving electronics/circuits, but you may find you can't stand that stuff (I know I can't).
Ah. I guess that's probably true. It is a specialized case of physical phenomena.
 
  • #10
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I think it's a great disservice not to include fluid mechanics in a physics degree.
As a physics major, I agree with this. Even though it is kind of a specialized area, we spent quite a bit of time in my freshman mechanics class on fluids and I think its important stuff.

So I would recommend fluid mechanics. This will basically be a physics course, just more emphasis on applications than theory. You could also take dynamics, which is usually offered by the mechanical engineering department. From what I hear this course is generally more difficult/advanced than calc-based mechanics, but not quite at the level of classical mechanics. I also hear they solve problems slightly differently than in the physics courses, so maybe this could "diversify" your problem solving skills in mechanics.

Other than that I can't really say. Most physics majors I know take more math than is required for the major, or take physical/quantum chemistry before quantum mechanics.

Lastly, it kind of depends on whether you want to go to graduate school. If you don't plan on it, then taking extra engineering courses may be of no use. Instead, programming courses would probably be better(as you can list programming experience on a resume).
 
  • #11
f95toli
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Electronics (practical circuits etc) and electronics measurement techniques, these are vital skill if you are going into experimental physics (and the majority of all physicsts ARE experimentalists). Control theory is also extremely useful.

Also, make sure you know how to program in at least one language: it does not matter if it is java, C or whatever; but you WILL need some basic CS skills regardless of what you will do later.
 

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